Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry that involves changing the position of teeth in your mouth, using braces or other orthodontic technologies. Using either brackets & wires or clear aligners, orthodontics can reposition your teeth in a variety of ways. It can straighten rotated teeth, separate crowded or overlapped teeth & close gaps between teeth.
What is Orthodontics?
Improving your smile with orthodontics can increase your confidence & self-esteem. But straight teeth are beneficial for more than just your appearance. When teeth are not properly aligned, they can be difficult to clean well enough to prevent tooth decay. If you can’t get floss between your teeth to clean out plaque, you risk unchecked tooth decay & gum disease.
Additionally, orthodontics can be used to treat problems with how the teeth of your upper & lower jaws line up, known as your bite. Called malocclusion by dentists, you might have an underbite, overbite or crossbite that can cause a host of issues. For example, misaligned teeth may rub against each other or collide, wearing them down unnecessarily; or a misaligned jaw may cause TMD symptoms, such as pain in the head, neck or shoulders.
When is the best time to get orthodontic treatment?
The best time to get orthodontic treatment is between the ages of 10 & 14 while the teeth are still moving into their final places. However, teeth move throughout life, so there isn’t a bad time to get treatment. In fact, adults are straightening their teeth more commonly these days due to the benefits to both appearance & functionality of straight teeth, as well as the increased options available to them.
Traditional braces, using metal brackets & wires, are still common, but cost & treatment times have gone down over the years. Some braces systems were created to be quick, with treatment as short as six months. There are even ceramic or plastic options that are less visible than the metal brackets. And, of course, clear aligners are very popular because they are not visible & can be removed.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
While orthodontic technologies work moving your teeth, it’s important to keep up with regular cleaning habits & visits to your dentist. If you have traditional braces, you might be tempted to skip flossing, but because food easily gets stuck in the hardware & between moving teeth, it’s even more important to floss every day, or even after every meal. Your dentist will show you how to thoroughly clean around your braces, including how to use threader tools to get floss behind the wires.
Cleaning your teeth is much easier with clear aligners, as you simply need to remove the aligners to brush & floss your teeth like normal.
Orthodontic treatments can give you the beautiful & straight smile you desire, but they can also benefit your oral health. So while you’ll certainly have a more beautiful smile at the end of your orthodontic treatment, you’ll also have a more functional, healthier smile!
We are proud to offer a range of orthodontics options for our patients. If you are interested in orthodontics for either cosmetic or functional reasons, please start a discussion with us about your options.